TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As drought continues to ravage Taiwan, major reservoirs in central and southern regions are nearly bottoming out.
On Monday, Economic Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said the ministry will continue to look for new water sources, make adjustments to water distribution, and communicate closely with local governments as the drought worsens, CNA reported. The Water Resources Agency (WRA) reiterated the drought response center will monitor water conditions in all areas and review alert levels and water-conservation and drought-resistance measures as necessary.
The water shortage is continuing to deteriorate and the reservoirs in central and southern Taiwan have nearly bottomed out. For example, the Zengwen Reservoir in Chiayi County is down to just 15.3 percent of its capacity, Liyutan Reservoir in Miaoli has plummeted to 13.7 percent, and Techi Reservoir in Deji Reservoir in Taichung is down to just 8.2 percent.
According to local media reports, if Plum Rains are unable to replenish reservoirs in central Taiwan, a red alert will have to be issued in May, in which case water would only be made available to certain districts at certain times.
Dry lake bed at Zengwen Reservoir. (CNA photo)
WRA officials tried to reassure the public by saying that "It is a bit pessimistic to talk about a red alert being issued in May." Officials said the WRA is working with local governments to combat the drought based on local conditions and hydrological characteristics.
They pointed out that Taichung is ahead of schedule, having implemented measures such as back-up wells, reducing water pressure, requiring large industrial users to reduce water consumption, and the use of mobile reverse osmosis (RO) water purification equipment. Officials added that Taichung has dug 58 backup wells capable of providing 137,500 tons of water, compared to Hsinchu's 17 backup wells, which only provide 30,000 tons.
According to the WRA, Taichung has cut the evening water supply for large industrial users by 20 percent and 11 percent for non-industrial users who consume more than 1,000 cubic meters per month.
Taichung has currently cut the supply of water by 5-20 percent for industrial users and by 20 percent for non-industrial users who consume more than 1,000 cubic meters per month. This has effectively reduced water consumption by more than 20,000 tons per day, and the total amount of water saved amounts to 13 million tons.
Upper catchment area of Zengwen Reservoir almost completely dry. (CNA photo)